But shutter lag is as bad here as on most phone cameras - it's not the optimal tool for taking pictures of fidgety toddlers.
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And Nokia's software got in the way of this camera in a couple of ways. Its clumsy panorama-creation interface yielded fractured-looking photos, and the goofy animated GIFs you can create with its Cinemagraph option seem to be as difficult to share on the Web as the Samsung Galaxy S 4′s multimedia-enriched photos.
As a phone, the 1020, a steep $299.99 with a two-year contract for new or renewing AT&T subscribers, both benefits and suffers a bit from its Windows Phone 8 operating system.
Battery life here was a little better than what its combination of an average-capacity, 2,000 milliamp-hour battery and a large, 4.5-inch screen might suggest. In my worst-case test, playing Web radio nonstop with the screen kept on, it lasted 6 hours and 29 minutes - better than many other phones, not outstanding.
WP8′s "live tiles" interface remains a pleasant way to stay on top of your schedule and all the ways people can bug you electronically these days. And unlike Android, Windows Phone makes it easy to kick off the bloatware AT&T loads on the phone; tap and hold on an unwanted app, then select "Uninstall."